Friday, August 21, 2009

Lost Literature Display

Sometimes I really love my job.

Where else would I get to indulge my love of a TV show, have fun with books, and help build a tent out of bamboo poles and twisties?

I've blogged before about the TV show Lost, and we recently put together a huge exhibit at my library called "Lost Literature." I wrote an article about it for the college's website and publications. I'm going to reproduce it here because I thought you'd enjoy it--and because I'm too lazy to write another version. Enjoy!

A few months ago, Macon State College’s Assistant Librarian Felicia Haywood had a fairly simple idea for a library display that would highlight a number of books in the collection. That simple idea grew into the library’s largest display to date—an exhibit that snakes around the entire second floor and includes a full-sized boat, a tent constructed of bamboo poles, and a smoke monster.

And books, of course. Books as diverse as The Epic of Gilgamesh, The Wizard of Oz, and Bad Twin. “All these titles are from the library’s collection,” says Haywood, “but they have something else in common. They also play a part in the popular ABC-TV Show Lost—along with many other titles covering a spectrum of time periods and genres.”

Lost follows the plight of the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815, which crashes onto a mysterious island and leaves them stranded—but not alone.

The island is just packed with mysteries, including a colony of people they call “The Others,” a monster that appears to be made of smoke, and a man in a hatch who swears he’s fending off an apocalypse by punching numbers into a computer.

If you’ve watched Lost (or heard your friends talk about it), you’ll know the show is a mind-bending puzzle. Through events on the island and flashbacks to the characters’ earlier lives, we discover that the Flight 815 survivors have intriguing connections to one another. Were they brought to the island for a reason?

As Haywood says, “Tiny bits of information turn out to provide important clues later on, so when a character is shown reading a particular book at a particular time, it’s probably important.”

And the literary clues abound! The survivors of Flight 815 read books to pass the time. The Others have a book club. The Hatch where Desmond holds the apocalypse at bay has a library.

Characters quote from books. Writers reference them in episode titles and character names. Sometimes story lines seem to follow famous plots.

In a strange twist of life imitating art, there’s even one Flight 815 passenger who wrote a novel called Bad Twin—which was later published in the real world, and added to the library's collection. The popular character Sawyer was seen reading the manuscript for Bad Twin in an early episode. If you’re interested in it, you can find it in the exhibit at Sawyer’s tent, along with his reading chair, Oceanic Airlines water bottles and blankets.

You can also see a replica of his bizarre reading glasses, patched together from two pairs salvaged from the wreckage.

“My original idea,” says Haywood, “was to draw attention to some classic library books. And also to the second floor of the Library. Even a couple of years after the library’s renovation, some folks don’t seem to be aware that the library now occupies two floors. Since a couple of us at the Library are Lost fans, the idea sort of snowballed. But what better way to get patrons to check out the upstairs than to provide them a recreation of the Survivors’ beach camp, Dharma stations, and even a model of the infamous Smoke Monster!”

“We’ve left clues everywhere to celebrate Lost’s homage to literature. If you’re a newbie to the show, you may just find yourself getting drawn into its world. If you’re a fan, see if you can make the connections.”

There are also plans for events, contests, and give-aways in connection with the exhibit, so watch out for more details.

“And if you find a book that you like,” says Haywood, “feel free to bring it to the desk and check it out—even if it’s the Stephen King book under the polar bear’s paw.”

You can see lots more photos at our Flickr site.

The Flickr photos and all the good pics above were taken by Felicia. The ones that have poor lighting or are blurry were taken by yours truly!


  1. Wow, that's really elaborate!
    I've never watched Lost. Who knows, maybe I'll start watching TV again some day. Maybe when my kids are grown and gone.
    But I doubt it. :-)

  2. I can't get over this display! It's awesome!